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Trends in children`s physical activity and weight status in high and low socio-economic status areas of Melbourne, Victoria, 1985-2001

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journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2005, 00:00 authored by Jo SalmonJo Salmon, Anna TimperioAnna Timperio, Verity Cleland, A Venn
Objective:
To examine trends in active transport to and from school, in school sport and physical education (PE), and in weight status among children from high and low socio-economic status (SES) areas in Melbourne, Victoria, between 1985 and 2001.

Methods:
Cross-sectional survey data and measured height and weight from 1985 (n=557) and 2001 (n=926) were compared for children aged between 9–13 years within high and low SES areas.

Results:

From 1985 to 2001, the frequency of walking to or from school declined (4.38±4.3 vs. 3.61 ± 3.8 trips/wk, p<0.001), cycling to or from school also declined (1.22±2.9 vs. 0.36±1.5 trips/wk, p<0.001), and the frequency of PE lessons declined (1.64±1.1 vs. 1.18±0.9 lessons/wk, p<0.001). However, the frequency of school sport increased (0.9±1.22 vs. 1.24±0.8 sessions/wk, p<0.001). In 1985, 11.7% of children were overweight or obese compared with 28.7% in 2001 (p<0.001). Apart from walking to school and school sport, there were greater relative declines in cycling to school and PE, and increases in overweight and obesity among children attending schools in low SES areas compared with those attending schools in high SES areas.

Conclusions:

Declines in active school transport and PE have occurred at the same time as increases in overweight and obesity among Australian children.

Implications:
Promoting active school transport and maintaining school sport and PE should be important public health priorities in Australia. Current inequities in school sport and PE and in prevalence of overweight and obesity by area-level SES also need to be addressed.

History

Journal

Australian and New Zealand journal of public health

Volume

29

Issue

4

Pagination

337 - 342

Publisher

Public Health Association of Australia

Location

Canberra, A.C.T.

ISSN

1326-0200

eISSN

1753-6405

Language

eng

Notes

Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Public Health Association of Australia